Biz Buzz: New eatery eyes grocery store space; Elkader shop focuses on people, pets; salon opening in Peosta

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Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from across the tri-state area. This edition highlights developments in Dubuque, Elkader and Peosta, Iowa.

A new food and beverage business will move into a former Dubuque grocery store.

Refresh, an eatery focused on healthy food and beverages, will open later this year at 1109 Iowa St. The location is the former home of The Food Store, which closed in October after nearly 40 years in Dubuque. The kitchen went up for sale in February.

“The Food Store was my first job when I moved to Dubuque,” said Sean Soler, owner of Refresh. “When that (space) came up for sale, it was a no-brainer to take it. It has sentimental value to it, and I’ve always wanted to open up a restaurant.”

Soler has been in the restaurant business for more than five years. He said he initially considered buying a food truck for Refresh before hearing about The Food Store being sold.

Soler said he hopes to open Refresh at the end of September or October after work inside of the building is finished. He said Refresh will be a counter-service restaurant with room for 30 to 45 people to sit and eat.

He said Refresh will focus on fast and fresh options, and he plans to source his menu items locally.

“You see a lot of bars, sports bars, with a basic menu that is all precooked,” he said. “We’re promoting healthier eating.”

Soler said he is working to develop different types of protein and vegetarian bowls, as well as several types of sandwiches and empanadas.

There also will be a breakfast menu that includes breakfast burritos, avocado toast, and peanut-butter-and-banana toast with a raspberry reduction.

Refresh will offer a large beverage menu with fresh-squeezed juices, milk and fruits teas and boba.

Soler said he envisions quick service for customers, with a wait time of 10 minutes at a maximum.

“It’s a good experience,” Soler said of starting his own business. “If people want to do it, they should go for it. If you do something with meaning behind it, failure is not really an option.”

More information on Refresh can be found on both Facebook and Instagram at @refreshdubuque.

New Elkader store focuses on people, pets

A new store on Elkader’s Main Street includes both people and pets in its clientele.

Birdie’s opened in June at 111 N. Main St., next to Elkader General Store and More. The store sells vintage items, as well as items for pets.

“I’ve always been into vintage and antique items,” said owner Amanda Hostetler. “And I thought a pet store would be a good niche to fill in Elkader, something different. Then I thought, ‘Hey, why not combine the two?’”

Hostetler added that while she has never run a business before, she wanted to take the plunge and be her own boss.

Birdie’s is named after one of Hostetler’s cats, and her dog, Eddy, is a frequent feature in the store. She noted that customers are welcome to bring in their pets while shopping.

“Since I got Eddy, my god, he’s just been a hit,” Hostetler said. “People love to see his pictures on social media. People come in just to see him and pet him.”

In addition to pet toys and treats, the pet side of the business also sells dog ice cream and nonalcoholic dog beer, she said.

She added that the store also has a lot of vintage items, including radios, cameras and signs, as well as novelty magnets and cards that have been a hit with customers.

Since opening her store, Hostetler has loved being part of the Elkader business community.

“It’s such a great community, and a lot of new businesses have come into town,” she said. “There was never any question of going anywhere else.”

Birdie’s is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.

The store can be found on Facebook as “Birdie’s, LLC” and on Instagram at @birdieselkader.

Men’s salon coming to Peosta

A new men’s salon will open soon in Peosta.

Man Cave Cut Shop will be located at 8554 Kapp Drive, Suite E, behind and underneath the post office. Heather Oehlerking, who co-owns the business with her husband, Randy, said she hopes the salon will be ready by Monday, Aug. 22.

“We decided Peosta could really use a men’s salon,” she said. “We just decided we were going to try to bring that to Peosta so there was something in town for everybody. It can be kind of a hassle to drive to Dubuque, and the opportunity presented itself (to start a salon).”

Oehlerking said she has been doing men’s haircuts for a decade, and to start, she will be the sole stylist at Man Cave Cut Shop. She said her husband will run the business side of things.

Currently, she said, they are working on transforming the space to fit the theme of a “man cave.”

“There’s no windows in there because it’s sort of in the basement of the building,” she said. “That’s kind of where the idea came from to make it into a man cave.”

She said they have made one wall wood-paneled and are putting in a bar to display their hair products. There also will be movie-theater-style recliner chairs in the space, as well as some of the Oehlerkings’ vintage video games for people to play while they wait.

She said she will accept walk-ins for haircuts if there is availability but that people should go to Man Cave Cut Shop’s website to book an appointment online to guarantee availability.

“Hopefully, we’re going to be helpful to the men in Peosta and make their lives easier,” she said.

More information on Man Cave Cut Shop can be found at or